MANKATO – Chad Greenway, the Minnesota Vikings linebacker and union representative, informed teammates Friday that they’ll soon be asked to give blood as part of a study meant to bring the NFL and its players closer to finally testing for human growth hormone.
Adrian Peterson sounds like he’ll be the first guy to roll up a sleeve and get in line.
“I like it. I love it,” the star running back said. “To be honest with you, I’ve been hoping that they did this a long time ago. To even out the playing field and make guys be honest and true to themselves. So I can’t wait till they draw my blood.”
Peterson, of course, is no stranger to suspicions and accusations that he had to have used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to have the season he had last year. Only nine months after tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, Peterson ran for 2,097 yards, the second-highest total in National Football League history, while winning league Most Valuable Player honors.
“I’ve heard [the accusations],” he said. “I seen a Twitter page, and it was ‘HGHPeterson.’ It was funny. But, yeah, it will be cool once the test comes out. To me, I take it as a compliment when I hear people say things like that. It shows how blessed I am. [Blood testing] will definitely clear a lot of stuff up.”
The population study will determine a baseline for what a normal HGH level is for an NFL player. The union had expressed concerns that HGH levels for NFL players might be typically higher than the general public. Once this latest issue is resolved, the league could be much closer to blood testing for the first time in its 94-year history.
“I think it will have a big impact [on the league],” Peterson said. “It will bring a lot of people to light. It will clear a lot of people on the outside of their curiosity about different players. I’m all in for it.
“I don’t worry about those types of supplements, using those because I’m all natural. I work hard. So to have a test for me personally, everybody will know I’m clean as a whistle.”
Peterson said he believes several NFL players use PEDs.
“You got HGH, something that doesn’t show up on a test, and you got guys out there trying to provide for their families,” he said. “They’re going to try and get that edge and that advantage, especially if they’re not worried about getting caught.
“People have [accused me of taking HGH]. But it is what it is. It’s part of life. People are going to think one thing or another no matter what you tell them. … I really don’t care, to be honest, because I’m true to myself and I know that I have a lot of respect for this game and the guys that came before me and did it the right way. That’s what I’m all about.”
Greenway said a date for drawing the blood of Vikings players hasn’t been decided, but the process should be completed by the time the team leaves Mankato on Aug. 14. Samples will be numbered but will not have names attached to them, Greenway said.
“As a union, we’re excited about having a clean league and we’re going to push for that,” Greenway said. “There’s enough suspicion [of HGH use] to handle a new test. I’m not sure what will come of it. I guess we’ll find out together.”
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen also has been an outspoken proponent of HGH testing.
“You look at baseball right now and it’s under a lot of scrutiny because of the PEDs,” Allen said. “And football is such a great sport. I’d hate for our sport to come under that scrutiny. I’m all for drug testing. I’m a guy who’s always been 100 percent all-natural. I barely take a protein shake.”
Several other Vikings players interviewed all said they’re in favor of HGH testing or simply didn’t care one way or the other.
“It really doesn’t affect me,” safety Harrison Smith said. “I already give them a urine sample. So if it’s my blood they want, they can have it, too.”